One person has died and 76 probable cases have been linked to an outbreak of a fungus at a northern Michigan paper mill, officials said this weekend. So far, 12 people have been hospitalized due to this fungal infection. The individual who died was a contractor who worked at the Billerud Paper Mill.
“We were saddened to hear this news. Our heartfelt sympathies and prayers go out to the family, friends, and co-workers who have lost their loved one,” said Michael Snyder, who works with Public Health Delta & Menominee Counties (PHDP).
FUNGAL OUTBREAK At Michigan Paper Mill Infects 100 People
According to a report by Fox2Detroit, PHDM said over the weekend that one person had succumbed to the disease, which has now been identified as Blastomycosis. This fungal infection was confirmed in 21 people and classified as probable in 76 others.
Blastomycosis is a disease associated with a fungus that grows in moist soil and decomposing matter like wood and leaves, a release from the public health agency said. Typically, the fungus infection can be contracted by breathing in the spores from the air. It does not spread from person to person or between animals and people, so wider transmission is unlikely.
In the United States, the fungus mainly lives in the midwestern, south-central, and southeastern states, particularly in areas surrounding the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys, the Great Lakes, and the Saint Lawrence River. People can get blastomycosis after breathing in the microscopic fungal spores from the air. Although most people who breathe in the spores don’t get sick, some people will develop symptoms like fever and cough, and the infection can sometimes become serious if it is not treated.
Most people with blastomycosis will need treatment with prescription antifungal medication. -Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The rise of fungus-related infections is worrying to many health officials due to the persistence of organisms that cause the sickness. Another deadly infection on the rise includes Candida auris, which has prompted a warning from the CDC since there is so much uncertainty about its spread.
A New “Urgent Threat” To Human Health: Candida Auris Fungal Infection
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